27th Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival includes 3 finalists from Washington

Jazz at Lincoln Center, committed to instilling a broader understanding of this music, created the Essentially Ellington program during the 1995-96 school year to make Ellington’s music accessible to as many high school musicians as possible and to support the development of music in their schools. programs.

Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center transcribes, publishes and distributes the Duke Ellington Orchestra charts, along with recordings and additional teaching materials, to high school groups in the United States, Canada and American schools abroad. . These cards are original transcriptions of Duke Ellington Orchestra recordings, not simplified arrangements.

In 2008, Jazz at Lincoln Center began including non-Ellington repertoire. While Duke Ellington’s music will always be central, the program now explores other significant big band arrangers and composers – one each year. Featured artists have included Benny Carter, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.

Throughout the school year, Essentially Ellington provides ongoing support to students and teachers participating in the program.

The annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival is held each May in New York City at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Fifteen bands are selected as finalists, each receiving a workshop at school led by a professional musician. This year’s event will take place May 5-7.

The three-day festival allows students, teachers and musicians from across North America to participate in workshops, rehearsals and performances, culminating in an evening concert and awards ceremony featuring the three top ranked groups. The show ends with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis performing music from the following year’s Essentially Ellington program.

Originally open only to schools in the New York metropolitan area, Essentially Ellington expanded in 1998 to include all 26 states east of the Mississippi. In 1999, the centennial of Ellington’s birth, the contest opened to all 50 US states and territories, followed by Canada two years later.

Here is the full list of 2022 finalists:

Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, Wisconsin), directed by Chris Behrens

Bothell High School (Bothell, WA), directed by Philip Dean

Byron Center Secondary School (Byron Center, MI), directed by Marc Townley

Foxboro High School (Foxboro, MA), directed by Aaron Bush

Jazz Home Kids (Montclair, NJ), directed by Nathan Eklund

Mount Si High School (Snoqualmie, WA), directed by William Leather

New World School of the Arts (Miami, Florida), directed by Jim Gasior

Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ), directed by Julius Tolentino

Noblesville High School (Noblesville, IN), directed by Bethany Robinson

Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana, California), directed by John Reynolds

Osceola County School of the Arts (Kissimmee, Florida), directed by Jason Anderson

Plano West High School (Plano, Texas), directed by Preston Pierce

Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, CA), directed by Josh Murray

Roosevelt High School (Seattle, Washington), directed by Scott Brown

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, North Carolina), directed by Gregg Gelb

Congratulations to all the young musicians and their conductors!


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Henry R. Wright